“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Medications may be required in some individuals who are at a high risk of new or recurrent kidney stones. The medications may include:
- Thiazide diuretics – work by reducing the levels of calcium in the urine; click here to read more about this medication
- Potassium citrate – this medicine works by various actions and prevents the majority of kidney stones; click here to read a brochure about this medication
- Potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate – lower the acidity of urine which is responsible for certain stones like uric acid.
- Allopurinol – reduces risk of uric acid stones seen in patients with a history of gout
- Lithostat and sodium thiosulfate – used in rare cases on patients with infectious and cysteine stones
Not everyone tolerates our medications for stone prevention. Thus in most patients we do resort to over the counter supplements that try to achieve what the medications are designed to do. We are inundated with social media, television and old school paper advertisements promising a cure for every ailment on the planet. It is difficult to trust anything we are being sold. Here at BUC, we focus only on scientifically proven kidney stone prevention strategies.
There is NO ONE GLOVE FITS ALL strategy when it comes to stone prevention. Your neighbors’ kidney stone and the reason they got it may be very different from yours, and so may be the key to prevention.
The most agreed-upon supplements that have been proven to help most patients reduce the risk of kidney stone formation or growth are the following:
- Increase lemon and lime juices as they contain a chemical that reduces the risk of various stones – a natural way to avoid taking a medication like potassium citrate. For those not excited about consuming lemon and lime juices daily, we have supplements that accomplish similar goals. These may include Moonstone capsules or Moonstone electrolyte powder.
- Eat milk and dairy products to achieve a calcium intake of about 1000-1200 mg/d. Though it may seem counterintuitive to give calcium to patients making calcium stones, but the research has shown that calcium binds to oxalate in the intestines and prevents oxalate absorption and thus actually reducing the risk of stones. If eating dairy is not your thing you may use a calcium citrate supplement.
- Limit salt intake to about 2 grams per day thus try to use fresh and frozen food products, avoiding precooked and/or preserved foods which typically contain too much salt
- Avoid too much Vitamin C supplementation as this converts to oxalate
- Limit animal proteins such as fish, beef and chicken to about 6-8 ounces per day.
- Prevention of chronic/recurrent urinary tract infections
- Magnesium supplementation – prevents oxalate absorption, similarly to calcium.
Certain supplement brands contain various components that follow the rules outlined above to reduce the risk of stones. One of these includes the Kidney C.O.P. supplement.
On the Horizon
There is early evidence that still needs to be proven with larger scientific trials that consumption of certain probiotics (good bacteria) containing O. formigenes, Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and B. subtilis may be reduce the risk of kidney stones by lowering the oxalate absorption in the gut. We will update you if the larger long term trials of this early research will show benefits.